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Tuesday April 11, 2006 - 13:57:44 GMT
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Forex and Commodity Market Commentary and Analysis (11 April 2006)

The euro managed minor gains vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.2140 level and was supported around the $1.2090 level. Today’s range has been relatively tight and some dealers attribute this to diminished liquidity during the religious weak holidays, with a further decline expected later this week and early next week. Another more plausible reason is that traders are simply confused about what is happening at the European Central Bank. ECB member Liebscher today said there is still “a need for action on inflation” and refused to rule out an increase in the bank’s growth forecast this year. ECB member Mersch added the central bank monitors inflation risks “very closely and vigilantly.” In contrast, ECB President Trichet last week said markets may have gotten ahead of themselves in predicting an ECB rate hike next week. Traders were also loath to take the euro too high after the April German ZEW expectations index printed at +62.7, down from March’s +63.4 level and below forecasts. This represented the third consecutive monthly decline in the ZEW index, a stark contrast to the German Ifo survey that has been printing at stronger-than-normal levels. In other eurozone news, traders are watching for results in Italy’s general election where incumbent Prime Minister Berlusconi may have retained a narrow grip on power. In U.S. news, Fed speakers include Dallas Fed President at 1700 GMT and Minneapolis Fed President Stern at 1800 GMT.

¥/ CNY

The yen weakened vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥118.85 level and was supported around the ¥118.25 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was just below the 23.6% retracement of the move from ¥113.40 to ¥119.40. Bank of Japan’s Policy Board voted unanimously to keep its monetary policy unchanged overnight and the central bank kept its view of the economy unchanged in its April monthly report, noting the “economy continues to recover steadily.” Additionally, BoJ reported stronger consumer spending, improving corporate activity, and a pick-up in exports and industrial production. Regarding the household sector, the central bank noted it “has been on an increasing trend.” BoJ Governor Fukui spoke overnight and said there is “no deviation” from the intended pace of reductions in commercial banks’ current account reserves held at the central bank. Traders sold yen on this comment because many expect the central bank to move interest rates higher away from zero per cent in Q3 of this year. The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.22% to close at ¥17,418.13. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥118.00 figure. The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested offers around the ¥143.95 level and was supported around the ¥143.20 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from ¥144.85 to ¥142.70. The British pound and Swiss franc gained ground vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested offers around the ¥207.25 and ¥91.20 levels, respectively. The Chinese yuan appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar as the greenback closed at CNY 8.0050 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 8.0064, and appreciated to close at CNY 8.0099 in the exchange-traded market. Chinese President Hu Jintao visits China next week and has stated he seeks more “trust” between the countries. Data released in China today saw the March trade surplus grow 98.5% y/y to US$ 11.19 billion. A government researcher warned China’s massive holdings of U.S. dollars renders is susceptible to “dollar depreciation” but that China has no real alternatives in terms of holding foreign reserves.


The British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.7455 level and was supported around the $1.7390 level. Technically, today’s intraday low was just above the 76.4% retracement of the move from $1.7430 to $1.7935. Sterling shrugged off some disappointing U.K. economic data that saw BRC March like-for-like retail sales decline 1.4% y/y, their biggest drop in eight months, while the U.K. February world trade in goods deficit printed at -£6.48 billion. These data ware important because it means foreign trade will be a net negative for GDP growth in the U.K. in Q1 as January’s trade gap was revised for the worse. Cable offers are cited around the US$ 1.7530 level. The euro moved marginally lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6940 level and was capped around the £0.6970 level.


The Swiss franc appreciated marginally vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the CHF 1.2990 level and was capped around the CHF 1.3045 level. Technically, today’s intraday high was right around the 23.6% retracement of the move from CHF 1.2240 to CHF 1.3285. Data released in Switzerland today saw Swiss bankruptcies reach a record level last year, up 3%. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2955 level. The euro and British pound moved marginally higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the crosses tested offers around the CHF 1.5780 and CHF 2.2730 levels, respectively.


The Australian dollar gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the Aussie tested offers around the US$ 0.7330 level and was supported around the $0.7265 level. Data released in Australia overnight saw the March NAB business confidence index improve to +17.0 from February’s +15.0 level. Australian dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.7350 level.


The Canadian dollar appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the C$ 1.4445 level and was capped around the C$ 1.1495 level. Chartists are eyeing the C$ 1.1430/ C$ 1.1380 levels as the pair’s next downside targets. The February new housing price index will be released in Canada today. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the C$ 1.1515 level.


The New Zealand dollar was little-changed vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the kiwi tested bids around the US$ 0.6060 level and was capped around the US$ 0.6120 level. PMI data will be released in New Zealand tomorrow. New Zealand dollar offers are cited around the US$ 0.6230 level.

Gold/ Silver

Gold depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the yellow metal tested bids around the US$ 593.30 level and was capped around the $603.80 level – a high the pair has not seen since 1980. Dealers cited continued U.S. – Iranian tensions, central bank metals purchases, and investors’ appetite for precious metals. Silver came off vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar and tested bids around the US$ 12.37 level.

Crude oil

Crude oil rallied vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as light, sweet crude for May delivery tested offers around the US$ 69.45 level and was supported around the $68.62 level. Notably, London Brent crude reached an all-time high of US$ 69.70 and most dealers believe West Texas intermediate crude tops last August’s all-time high around US$ 70.60. President Bush yesterday dismissed talk that the U.S. is planning military action against Iran as “wild speculation.” Tensions remain elevated in Nigeria on account of militant rebel action in that country and traders will pay very close attention to U.S. crude and gasoline inventories data tomorrow.


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